Are you looking for a new podcast to dig into this year? University of Saskatchewan track standout Courtney Hufsmith has you covered.
Hufsmith and Syracuse University track athlete Laura Dickinson are the co-producers of Keep it Running Podcast, which launched its first episode in June 2020.
The weekly podcast features interviews with student track athletes from across Canada and the United States.
Courtney Hufsmith said she and Dickinson decided to start the podcast after competing together at the World University Championships (FISU) in Italy in the summer of 2019. At the event, the two connected with other high-level student athletes about shared dreams and the unique challenge of balancing schoolwork while chasing spots on national teams.
“The environment that we were in at FISU was very good because there were so many athletes that we could relate to and share stories with and we kind of wanted to take that same approach with the podcast,” Hufsmith said.
In 20-to-30-minute segments released every Friday, Hufsmith or Dickinson talk to guests about their experiences as student athletes and ask what advice they have for others in similar situations. The tone is lighthearted and fun.
Not only is the podcast informative for listeners, Hufsmith says it can be a valuable opportunity for the guests as well.
“A lot of podcasts interview professional athletes, and I kind of see this as giving university students practice in that and in speaking skills,” she says. “I think there’s a lot of those sort of soft skills that can be developed through the podcast.”
Hufsmith says some of the recurring messages shared in the podcast have been about the need to find balance in training, the importance of finding joy in sport and understanding that there are no shortcuts to hard work.
Many of the interviews have resonated with Hufsmith and helped her work through her own challenges; for instance when she was struggling with a fractured foot this spring she was buoyed by an interview with Eric Lutz, a University of Calgary athlete who won the 1,000m and 1,500m U Sport indoor national titles in 2019. Lutz’ success came after he broke his back in an ATV accident — an incident that changed his outlook on life.
“It gave me some good messages at the time, things like there’s other things out of sport that you can focus on and then, when you come back to sport, just taking a lighter approach to all of it was the key message that really stuck with me,” Hufsmith says.
Hufsmith is on track to graduate from the U of S this spring and — while many of her future plans remain uncertain — she is looking forward to continuing the podcast.
“I think it’ll kind of grow with us too,” she says. “I don’t know if I’ll go back to school, but we might try to reach an older audience too later on, or do some other things to incorporate a broader audience.”